Turn Your “Mess” Into Your Message

Turning your mess into your message can either be really easy or it can be super difficult depending on your story, your brand, or your profession.  Let’s start with a couple of easy examples.

Turn Your Mess into Your Message.

If you’re a fitness expert like Kaelin Tuell (@ladyboss) who you lost 65 pounds and now teaches others how to do the same, your mess of being overweight and how you solved it is a golden ticket to marketing success.  You are your own testimonial and other people struggling with weight issues will be able to relate to you and be inspired by you.

If you’re a former drug addict and now a multi-millionaire like Grant Cardone (@GrantCardone), your mess inspires people from almost all circumstances because you see how you can hit rock bottom in your life and turn it around to 10x your success.

For most of us, though, we feel like our “mess” isn’t big enough or dramatic enough to move our tribe or our ideal clients, but that’s where you’re wrong.  Your “mess” is YOUR struggle and sharing bits of that struggle so that people understand you didn’t come out of the womb as the successful person you are, but you worked to get there and you’re just where they used to be, but you worked hard to achieve your goals. Or, it’s how you helped others overcome their mess.  This will allow them to relate to you as a “real person,” endear themselves to you and they’ll respect and trust you because you shared your struggle.

Now, there is a fine line in how sharing your mess and your struggle that you don’t want to cross versus over-sharing and providing too much information that undermines your authority as an expert.  Perhaps your struggle was working 60-to-80 hour work weeks for years, sacrificing your social life so that you could be a high performer in your industry and the good, bad, and ugly lessons you learned along the way.  Also, if you’re sharing the mess of people you helped, ALWAYS get permission and/or change the names “to protect the innocent.”

You see, when most people watch Olympians compete, they never think about the thousands of hours of training and sacrifice that Gabby Douglas (@GabbyCVDouglas) put into a two-minute gymnastic routine or what it took for Michael Phelps (@M_Phelps00) to break records in swimming.  That’s why you need to share your struggle and that’s why the producers of the Olympics provide a back-story video feature when you watch the broadcast of the event so that the audience sees and understands the struggle (and sometimes the mess) that the athlete overcame to get there.  They weren’t born champions. They worked very hard to become champions. And now the NBC-TV audience is engaged in the story and have a new respect for the athlete.

So start thinking how to turn your “mess” into your message.  What obstacles have you overcome? Lack of money? Lack of education? Lack of physical ability? Lack of support from your family and friends? Share your struggle, unpack how you overcame the odds that were stacked against you, and you’ll earn the trust of your tribe.

Now, I have a special invitation for you to join me and my community of positive minded people in my Facebook Group to Grow Your Business with Video. I can’t wait to connect with you there!

Follow Marianne on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Copyright © 2019 by Marianne Schwab. All Rights Reserved.

Laughing is Good For the Soul: Three Ways to Add Humor to Storytelling

MAKE ‘EM LAUGH!  Joel Osteen begins every message he delivers with a funny story or joke. He knows the importance of the power of laughter and how it can immediately grab the attention of his audience, put them in a good mood, and it sets the stage for his positive message.

So how do you infuse humor into your content so that it feels organic, because, let’s face it: if humor is forced it will flop.  Using humor well really depends on the product, brand, or service that you provide, as to whether using humor is right for you and if it will work.

Add Humor to Your Content & Storytelling to Capture Your Audience.

So, a little-known fact about me.  I know a few things about this topic because a long time ago in a land not so far away, I performed stand-up comedy a few times in New York.  This was around the same time that I was an Associate Producer on “Live with Regis & Kathie Lee” and I convinced the Executive Producer of the show, Michael Gelman, to let me deliver the audience warm-ups when Michael was on vacation (he was the regular warm-up act).   Regis said I got the audience heated to a nice “lukewarm” level (LOL) and to my defense, I was just “starting out.”

After my short adventures in stand up comedy, I left the Big Apple behind and headed to Hollywood with visions of writing for sitcoms. I have quite a nice portfolio of un-produced spec scripts for shows like “Murphy Brown,” “Home Improvement,” and “The Wonder Years.”  I even worked on a sitcom at Paramount Pictures for a season as a Writer’s Assistant with some of the biggest names in the business, so I understand the anatomy of a joke, what works and what doesn’t, and ways to punch up a story and inject an element of humor.

Marianne Schwab (1st Row) Seinfeld “Bubble Boy” Episode, Season 4.

Another little-known fact about me and my adventures in comedy? I was in the “Bubble Boy” episode of Seinfeld and have the screen grab (above) to prove it. So exciting to be a part of comedic history.

Now, here are three quick tips on where humor works best for the “non-comedian.”

1. VIDEO ADS.   Think about the problem your product solves and how people may look silly when they are immersed in the problem.  Infomercials do this ALL the time, but…it’s not meant to be funny and is actually a little cheesy.  So study what they do, but make it true to your brand.

2.  VIDEO TUTORIALS. Think of the mistakes that people make on the topic you’re instructing on especially if these mistakes are common.  Observational humor works because your audience sees themselves in a convicted, but not condemned sort of way.  It also makes learning fun and memorable.

3. ATTRACTION VIDEOS or SALES VIDEOS.  Use humor in the telling of your story.  Now, if you just sit down and try to bring funny stories to your mind, you’ll probably draw a blank.  But now that I have planted this seed in your brain, noodle on it and when a funny memory comes to mind, record it in your notes section on your smartphone or maybe even go “old fashioned” and write it down on a piece of paper.

As a former TV Talk Show Producer, I was always looking for that funny and memorable story from my celebrity guest that would not only make good TV, but also endear our audience to the celeb because that’s what funny stories do…they endear you to your audience.  And then they’ll want to go see your film (or buy your product).  My guest’s story could have been something that happened on the set with another famous actor, how they blew a line and how it came out really wrong, the time they got pulled over by a cop, or they might have an unusual skill they weren’t good at (like magic tricks gone wrong.)

Think of your own “behind-the-scenes” stories – things that happened in high school or college, your first jobs, funny mistakes you made on the job but then learned from, and so on.  Don’t tell a joke for the sake of injecting humor, but find a teaching moment in your story that is also humorous and made people laugh.  It should not feel contrived, but organic.

Finally, remember that even the most experienced comedians, like Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno, test their material before they roll it out that not every joke gets a laugh.  Comedy is an art but that doesn’t mean that you still can’t harness its power in your body of content.

Andrew Carnegie said, “There is little success where there is little laughter.” Now, go out and make ’em laugh.•

You are invited to join my exclusive Facebook Group to Grow Your Business with Video.

Copyright © 2019 by Marianne Schwab. All Rights Reserved.

Marianne Schwab is the author of The Insider’s Guide to Media Training and, as Content Creation Strategist, she is the go-to broadcast media expert to show you how to get booked on TV and ace your on-camera interview. Her producer credits include Live with Regis & Kathie Lee, Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, Runaway with the Rich & Famous, E! Entertainment Television ON E! Specials, and many more. She has worked in broadcast for over 25 years and is currently the Executive Producer for CMP Media Cafe, a company specializing in broadcast public relations where she provides customized media training services for clients.

Follow Marianne on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Copyright © 2019 by Marianne Schwab. All Rights Reserved.